I want to continue on the subject of saved and stuck.
When I got born-again, I was told to come forward and receive Jesus as Lord and Savior. I was told He would forgive all my sins and when I died I will go to heaven. I said the prayer and was re-insured that when I die I would go to heaven but in the mean time I should read my bible and find a good church. That is what I did and for the next eighteen years. I read my bible and devotionals every morning. I went to church three times a week and was in service as a Youth Pastor and lead many people to Jesus.
To be honest, I was born-again and saved and stuck. I was frustrated. Do not get me wrong. I loved Jesus, loved going to church and being in service. But this is not what I thought the Christian life should be. I read the New Testament, and this life did not match what I was reading. No great moves of Jesus. No miracles.
If you measured me up to any moral person living in the world, I would be no real difference except I went to church and I read the bible. (I think this is why Christianity is loosing so much ground in the U.S. today.) Most people do not see any real difference in us as Christians. Let change that!
First problem is the introduction to Christianity or the invitation to receive Christ. We tell people receive Jesus and get your sins pardon and one day you will go to heaven. These are true facts but this is not the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. In the book of John it states real eternal life is this:
John 17:3, And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
If you look at this verse you will see that eternal life is that you know. This word is also used in Genesis 4:1 to show it real meaning:
Genesis 4:1, Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, “I have acquired a man from the Lord.
God want us to know Him intimately in the here and now. Not one day, when you die and go to heaven. He desires the same things, as a man desires in his relationship with his wife. This is how deeply the Lord desires a relationship with you. Not just some religious worship or a servant/master relationship with him. God wants a one on one personal relationship with Him. He does not desire some distant, far away relationship. God want to be in your life just as your wife or husband would be. He wants us that close and that emotional. He wants to be apart of your decisions. He want to have input in the way your life is going and all the decision your make. That is why we the church is called the “bride of Christ”
1 Thessalonians 5:17, pray without ceasing,
If God tells you to pray (talk, communicate) without ceasing. That means He is talking and listening to you without ceasing. Communication is a two-way street. So remember if God is telling you to talk to him without ceasing. He is doing the same for you.
You have been adopted. You did not join a religion. You got yourself into a one on one personal relationship with the Creator of this universe. God now becomes your Father and you become His child.
Romans 8:15-16: you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.
When you say you been saved, you are saying in the greek “Sozo”. This word has many layers of meaning to it. I do not know how to explain it properly but when you got saved you have received so many benefits.
Understand “going to heaven is only one aspect of being saved” it is the natural process of living your life with God in the here and now. If you have Jesus now in your life. You will have Jesus in your life when you go into His realm or dimension. And on the other hand if you live your life without Him here, you will continue that on the next life. So a strong word of caution; if you continue to live this life for yourself and without Him, this will continue in the next by your decision not Gods. This is what you have desired in your heart.
2 Peter 3:9:The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is long-suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
Let us look at the Greek meaning of Sozo:
to save, keep safe and sound, to rescue from danger or destruction one (from injury or peril) to save a suffering one (from perishing), i.e. one suffering from disease, to make well, heal, restore to health to preserve one who is in danger of destruction, to save or rescue to save in the technical biblical sense negatively to deliver from the penalties of the Messianic judgment. to save from the evils which obstruct the reception of the Messianic deliverance.
To understand your salvation. This is better to look at it as you been adopted into a family instead of receiving a ticket to a destination (heaven).
In my life, in Guatemala. I married Maria Luisa and she had five children. I by marriage adopted those children. Now as their father;
- As the father I decided to build a relationship with them and love them.
- As the father I decided to educate them and also disciple them when needed.
- As the father I decided to handle their needs and support.
- As the father I decided to protect them and keep them from all harm.
- As the father I decided to take care of all their health needs and supply medical and medicine any time their sick.
- As the father I decided I would do anything to protect them and keep them from destruction (from others and from their self)
This is a more perfect look at Salvation. A real relationship with God as your father. In the here and now. Can you image tell your kids you want to have a relationship but it will not really begin for 50 or more years from now in a distant far off land. But is that not how we view salvation.
Even in Scripture God verify this in His word.
Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with loving-kindness and tender mercies,
Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor punished us according to our iniquities.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
As a father pities his children,
So the Lord pities those who fear Him.
Now does this sound more like what God wants and what you want. I am like you, I do not want some far off, God and that I need to beg and plead to. I do want a relationship if God hears me or not. God hears all that we say to Him. He always inattentive to us. He is our loving father who is wants to be apart of our lives.
So today if you want a closer walk with God. I might suggest for you to look, on how you look at your relationship with God. Is He some distant far off God or is He your father and does he have an intimate place in your life. Does He help you make decisions? When you are in need or sick does He supply all your needs and heals all your sickness?